Fri
Apr 18 2014 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Body Parts”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Body Parts“Body Parts”
Written by Louis P. DeSantis & Robert J. Bolivar and Hans Beimler
Directed by Avery Brooks
Season 4, Episode 24
Production episode 40514-497
Original air date: June 10, 1996
Stardate: 49930.3

Station log: Quark is back from two weeks on Ferenginar with some pretty awful news from his annual insurance physical: he has Dorek Syndrome, which is incurable, and he’ll be dead in a few days. It’s very rare, afflicting only one in five million Ferengi—Quark comments morbidly that he finally beat the odds. Rom is beside himself, suggesting he get a second opinion from Bashir, but Quark dismisses the notion. How good a doctor can he be when he doesn’t even charge?

Quark’s biggest concern is the paying off of his debts so he can get into the Divine Treasury after death. Rom suggests selling his vacuum-desiccated remains on the futures market. Quark doesn’t think anyone will buy, as he considers himself a joke. Rom’s assurances that he’s a pillar of the community and an important businessman on the station fall on deaf (if very large) ears, because the only opinions Quark cares about are those of other Ferengi. To them, he’s just small-time, but he doesn’t have any other way of paying off his debts, so he goes ahead and puts his body up for sale.

Keiko has gone on a botanical survey to the Gamma Quadrant, accompanied by Kira and Bashir. O’Brien is beside himself with worry, and that concern metastasizes when the Volga returns early from its mission badly damaged. They had a collision with an asteroid, and Keiko was badly hurt; Bashir had no choice but to transfer the baby from Keiko’s womb to Kira’s. It was the only way to save them both. However, because Bajoran gestation periods are only five months, the ties between mother and fetus are stronger, so removing the child from Kira and putting him back into Keiko would be too risky for both Kira and the kid. So Kira must carry the child to term.

Quark is suffering considerable anguish, as there’s only one bid and it’s from Rom. But even as he bemoans the entire course of his life, a massive anonymous bid comes in: five hundred bars of gold-pressed latinum for the entire set. Quark thinks it was Grand Nagus Zek who made the bid, and while Rom suggests that he use that to stimulate further bidding, Quark doesn’t want to risk offending the nagus, and so accepts the bid as final. Then, while he and Rom are making funeral arrangements and disbursing the five hundred bars to his creditors, Bashir interrupts with a message from Dr. Orpax, the physician who diagnosed him: Quark doesn’t have Dorek Syndrome.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Body Parts

This news has several consequences. The first is that Quark is going to live. The second is that Quark has a great case for malpractice against Orpax. But the third is that the anonymous bidder wasn’t Zek—it was Brunt, who shows up at the station demanding his merchandise. He paid for a dead Quark, and he wants a dead Quark. He’s fully aware that Quark doesn’t have Dorek Syndrome, and isn’t willing to accept a refund, not even one that Quark sweetens by twelve more bars. This isn’t business for Brunt, it’s personal. He’s disgusted by Quark’s entire existence, at one point accusing him of philanthropy (an insult that cuts Quark to the very core of his being). The only alternative he’s willing to consider is Quark breaking the contract. If he does, the FCA will declare him an outcast. All his assets will be seized and sold to the lowest bidder, no Ferengi will be permitted to do business with him, and he’ll be shunned from Ferengi society.

Keiko is recovering slowly. She’s incredibly grateful to Kira for what she’s done—but she also misses being with her son. She hates having to make appointments to see her child. At one point, when Kira’s over—and after O’Brien has provided her with a back pillow that’s presumably left over from when Keiko was pregnant with Molly on the Enterprise—they invite her to come live in their quarters until the baby is born. Kira agrees, getting her own room in the O’Briens’ cabin. Molly immediately wants to play in “Aunt Nerys’s” room.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Body Parts

Quark goes to Garak to hire the former Obsidian Order agent to kill him. Rom is aghast, but Quark can’t be like his mother, or Rom, or Nog, who all defied Ferengi tradition. He’s a Ferengi businessman, and he can’t violate his contract.

Unfortunately, hiring Garak to kill him has just made Quark completely paranoid, expecting to see Garak around every corner. When he goes to sleep, he dreams that he’s in the Divine Treasury and is lectured by Gint, the first-ever Grand Nagus, who wrote the Rules of Acquisition. Gint (who looks a lot like Rom) tells him to break the contract because his life is at stake. Sure, it violates a Rule, but so what? They’re just guidelines—signposts, as it were. He just called them rules because no one would buy a book called The Suggestions of Acquisition. Brunt also appears in the dream and reminds him of the consequences, and then tries to strangle him. Quark wakes up, relieved to be alive, and immediately goes to break the contract. Brunt announces to the bar that Quark’s Ferengi business license is revoked, no Ferengi may be employed by or do business with Quark, and he places a seal of disapproval next to the door. Within a few hours, the bar is completely empty, cleaned out of all items. Quark doesn’t even have his jacket anymore, and he tells Rom that Brunt will be back shortly for his shirt. (When Rom offers his own shirt, Quark replies, “I’d rather be naked.”)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Body Parts

Then the parade starts. First Bashir brings in a case of brandy that a patient tried to give him as payment. Then Dax provides some hideously ugly glasses her sister sent her. Then Sisko announces that they’re doing some restructuring on the habitat ring and he needs to store some furniture. Quark now has the space, after all. However, Quark can’t allow it—at least not without a storage fee. Sisko just says, “Send me a bill.”

Quark realizes that Rom was right at the beginning of the episode: his being a pillar of the community is an asset.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Body Parts

Don’t ask my opinion next time: Kira is remarkably okay with carrying the O’Briens’ baby and moving in with them. It’s a massive disruption of her life, and it’s a testament to the strength of Kira’s heroism that she doesn’t even bat an eyelash at any of it.

The slug in your belly: When O’Brien complains about how active Keiko has been during pregnancy and declares, “It’s as if I have to remind her she’s pregnant!” Dax—who has been pregnant while in previous female hosts—has a magnificently sarcastic response: “Yeah, I guess the extra weight, the morning sickness, the mood swings, the medical examinations—they aren’t reminders enough.”

Rules of Acquisition: For the first time, we get the latinum scale: one bar is twenty strips, which is in turn two thousand slips. We also get two more Rules: #17 (“A contract is a contract is a contract...but only between Ferengi,” which is pretty much the plot in a nutshell) and #239 (“Never be afraid to mislabel a product”).

Plain, simple: Garak is still, for whatever reason, trying to maintain the pretense that he wasn’t with the Obsidian Order. When Quark says that he wasn’t always a tailor, Garak’s reply is that he used to be a gardener. However, once Quark makes it clear that he wants to hire Garak to kill Quark himself, Garak is more than happy to take the commission.

What happens in the holosuite stays in the holosuite: Garak demonstrates several methods of killing Quark on the holosuite, none of which are satisfactory to Quark. It’s either too loud, too messy, too savage, too ineffective (poison won’t work because he just won’t eat or drink anything), or not useful because there needs to be a mostly intact body left behind to provide for Brunt. Eventually, they agree that Garak should just surprise him with something out of the blue.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Body Parts

Keep your ears open: “I’m a businessman—and more than that, I’m a Ferengi businessman. Do you know what that means? It means that I’m not exploiting and cheating people at random, I’m doing it according to a specific set of rules—the Rules of Acquisition. And I won’t disregard them when I find them inconvenient.”

Quark showing his Ferengi orthodoxy.

Welcome aboard: It’s all recurring regulars this time around: Andrew J. Robinson as Garak, Rosalind Chao as Keiko, Hana Hatae as Molly, Jeffrey Combs as Brunt, and Max Grodénchik doing double duty as Rom and the image of Grand Nagus Gint.

Trivial matters: The O’Brien baby being placed in Kira’s womb was necessitated by Nana Visitor announcing she was pregnant (with a child conceived with Alexander Siddig). They didn’t want to make Kira pregnant when Keiko was already established as being so back in “Accession,” and they didn’t want to just shoot her from the chest up, as they did with Gates McFadden on TNG (and would do again for Roxann Dawson on Voyager), due to Kira’s more physically active role on the show.

Rom mentions that Quark was grand nagus once, albeit only for a week, which occurred in “The Nagus.” That episode also established the Ferengi practice of vacuum-desiccating remains of the dead and selling them.

Dr. Orpax will be seen in your humble rewatcher’s Ferenginar short novel in Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Volume 3, where he cares for Leeta when she’s pregnant with her and Rom’s baby. That novel establishes what this episode implies but never comes out and states: that Brunt bribed Orpax to misdiagnose Quark.

Among the sins Brunt enumerates against Quark are his covering for his mother’s FCA audit in “Family Business” and his secret settlement with the union of his bar workers in “Bar Association.” (Surprisingly, he doesn’t mention Nog joining Starfleet, though he does accuse Quark of practically having joined Starfleet for being so Federation-like.)

The seal that Brunt places on the bar will remain there until “Ferengi Love Songs” next season, when Brunt will restore Quark’s business license.

Quark is now the second opening-credits regular (besides Worf), and third regular character (besides Garak), who has been exiled from his own people.

Walk with the Prophets: “For a man who wants to kill himself, you are strangely determined to live.” It’s becoming increasingly obvious to me that the bad reputation the Ferengi episodes get is almost entirely an artifact of the depths of awful that “Profit and Lace” and “The Emperor’s New Cloak” sink to. Because honestly, you look at what we’ve got so far and we’ve got solid episodes like “The Nagus,” well-meaning episodes like “Rules of Acquisition” and “Prophet Motive,” and really excellent episodes like “Family Business,” “Little Green Men,” and “Bar Association.” I really think those two stinkers from the sixth and seventh season have had a warping effect on the view of Ferengi episodes as a whole. Certainly my own memory of such were tainted by those two for a long time, at least until I spent a week in 2004 re-watching the Ferengi episodes.

This one is also quite excellent, as it plays up the complexity of Quark as a character. On the one hand, he wants to be the ideal Ferengi. On the other hand, he really can’t be, because he’s on a Bajoran station run by the Federation in one of the biggest ports of call in the galaxy. Half his employees aren’t Ferengi, almost none of his customers are Ferengi. He’s not really going to be able to be the ideal Ferengi, particularly while being so proximate to the Federation and on a station administered by Starfleet.

Of course, both Brunt and Quark himself view this as a failing on Quark’s part, but Brunt takes it to an extreme. And ultimately, Quark has one instinct he simply cannot overcome: he doesn’t want to die. The scene in the holosuite with Garak is priceless, as Quark has an excuse ready made for why every possible way Garak could kill him doesn’t work, and then when he agrees to be surprised, he goes into full-on paranoia mode. He wants very much not to die, and that’s leaves him with only one choice: to break a contract.

Quark is, in many ways, the exact opposite of Worf. By living most of his life outside the Klingon Empire, Worf has been able to be the perfect Klingon, not affected by the necessary compromises to the ideals of honor that everyday life in the empire force upon one. But Ferengi ideals are ones of compromises and deal-making, and by living outside the Ferengi Alliance, Quark has been unable to live that ideal.

In the end, they both wind up in the same place: exiled from their people.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Body Parts

A lot of why this episode works is some superb acting by Armin Shimerman, Andrew J. Robinson, Jeffrey Combs, and especially Max Grodénchik. Rom has really grown as a character, and it’s been fun to see him crawl out of Quark’s shadow. In particular, what’s notable is that most of the interactions between Quark and Rom have been colored by the fact that Rom was also Quark’s employee. The only time that dynamic really changed was in “Family Business” when they were on Ferenginar and truly were brothers rather than employer and employee. With Rom’s shift to engineering, he gets to be in that role again, and Grodénchik makes Rom a good sounding board for Quark. (He also does an amazing job as Gint, the first grand nagus, just a hilarious performance.) And the banter between Shimerman and Grodénchik is simply superb, with the former doing such a stellar job as the latter’s straight man, from the opening where Quark pretends like he’s in a good mood to the conversation in the empty bar at the end.

Not much to say about the O’Brien-Kira subplot, as you can see the wires on that one. This is What They’re Doing To Accommodate Nana Visitor’s Pregnancy, and I’m glad they made it real rather than limit what Kira can do on the show with trick camera work, but the subplot itself was very obviously there to service a real-world need. Luckily, it didn’t take up much time. (And Molly asking if she can play in Aunt Nerys’s room was just the cutest damn thing…)

 

Warp factor rating: 8


Keith R.A. DeCandido’s birthday is today. Please congratulate him on another successful trip around the sun!

33 comments
Christopher Bennett
1. ChristopherLBennett
Congrats on the trip 'round the Sun. Many happy re-turns. (Heh-heh.)

I agree, this is another really good Ferengi episode, even if it is basically "Quark gets discommendated." The irony of it is that Brunt, the one accusing Quark of being a bad Ferengi, is himself the worse Ferengi by far, because he's putting personal feelings above business considerations. Rather than making a deal with Quark that will bring him profit, he puts out a considerable amount of his own latinum (both the price for Quark's remains and, implicitly, the bribe to Orpax) and passes up a bribe offer from Quark, costing himself money, in order to pursue a personal vendetta. He refuses to compromise in his hatred, and that's more a Klingon value than a Ferengi one. So he's a hypocrite for calling Quark a worse Ferengi.

But then, isn't it always the case with people like that? Like the people who insist that anyone who doesn't persecute gays and condemn liberals is a bad Christian, even though Christ taught love and acceptance toward all. Hate and hypocrisy have a way of going hand in hand.
Rancho Unicorno
2. Rancho Unicorno
Happy Birthday! I think I'll take the my wife and kids out to dinner to celebrate.

This was a case where I found the B-plot to be too much to overcome. I really enjoyed the Ferengi focus, but the whole transferring the baby thing was too much. I know I'm not providing solutions, but just about anything would have been better. You know what - it wasn't even the transferring. It was Bashir's reasoning for why he couldn't transfer the baby back. Egads, that was painful.
Nate the great
3. thDigitalReader
I might be in the minority but I liked the baby storyline more than the Quark storyline. For once, Star Trek actually came up with a unique biology rather than generalizing human biology. The details were interesting, and they way they built this into the season-long story arc was also clever.

As for the other story in this episode, it doesn't really make much sense. How exactly would an FCA Liquadator have the authority to sell off the posessions of a Ferengi on a Starfleet-run space station? Wouldn't he have to file a petition with a magistrate?

I would think that at the least he would need the permission of Sisko, who would have told him no.
Rancho Unicorno
4. Alright Then
Happy Birthday!

I agree. The Ferengi episodes do get a bad rap. Even if the stories fall short (no pun intended), I've always enjoyed the satirical digs at ultra capitalism, going all the way back to "Yankee traders." And what's not to like about the end of this episode? Pure Frank Capra.
Rancho Unicorno
5. Russell H
Re Garak's remark about having once been a "gardener," seeing as how one task of a gardener is killing weeds, he may have just been waxing metaphorical.
Rancho Unicorno
6. D Schwartz
Here's to another orbit of the Sun!

I do wonder how quickly Quark cancells the contract on him with Garak and the potential of an assasination during contract cancellation. But this wouldn't happen due to the caracter's name in the credits.
Pirmin Schanne
7. Torvald Nom
@5: IIRC, there's also a certain time he spent on Romulus as a such...
David Levinson
8. DemetriosX
I'm slightly less enamored of this episode than many of the other commenters. It isn't bad, really, just nothing to write home about.It might have been better if they'd explored the fact that Brunt is essentially throwing Ferengi values out the window here. Or at least followed up on that thread later.

Looking at it now, I am amused by the name of Dr. Orpax. Oropax is the standard brand of earplug in Germany, practically a generic name along the lines of kleenex in the US. Anything with Ferengi and ears has room for humor.
Brian Haughwout
9. bhaughwout
Quark is, in many ways, the exact opposite of Worf. By living most of his life outside the Klingon Empire, Worf has been able to be the perfect Klingon, not affected by the necessary compromises to the ideals of honor that everyday life in the empire force upon one. But Ferengi ideals are ones of compromises and deal-making, and by living outside the Ferengi Alliance, Quark has been unable to live that ideal.
Given how the Ferengi were supposed to be the "Klingons of The Next Generation," one has to love how the development of the race over the course of Deep Space Nine -- especially in the character of Quark (oddly enough, as compared to Worf, as you point out) did turn out to be in many ways as developed, with a parallel code and unique government that comments on humanity, especially society in the time of the show(s) in question (Cold War conflict/post-Cold War detente conflict vs. hypercapitalism/hegemonic commercialism). Certainly a far cry from "The Last Outpost" by the time these episodes came around!
Rancho Unicorno
10. Lsana
Happy birthday, feliz cumpleaños, joyeux anniversaire, and boldog születésnapot.

As far as the baby plot goes, I was okay with it up until the point where we had Kira moving in with the O'Briens. As a kid during the first run, that part made me uneasy. As an adult and knowing a little more about the issues with surrogacy, I like it even less. One of the big problems is the "biological parents" being too controlling of the surrogate, and it seems like that's exactly what's going on here. Kira is an independent woman who values her privacy, and now she has to move in with a couple from a different culture basically so that Keiko can stare at her stomach whenever she wants. It wasn't like Kira was living in Siberia before, just a different part of the same station, but they still had to drag her into their quarters. Boundries, people: respect them.
Rancho Unicorno
11. Warren B.
"Kira is remarkably okay with carrying the O’Briens’ baby and moving in with them. It’s a massive disruption of her life, and it’s a testament to the strength of Kira’s heroism that she doesn’t even bat an eyelash at any of it."

Whenever you type stuff like this I wonder if - just for a moment - you forget things like a bunch of writers trying to handwave Nana Visitor's bump.
Rancho Unicorno
12. Cybersnark
Happy Birthday.

And Brunt probably didn't blame Quark for Nog joining Starfleet since (if anyone) that would be considered Rom's fault.
Keith DeCandido
13. krad
Quoth Warren: "Whenever you type stuff like this I wonder if - just for a moment - you forget things like a bunch of writers trying to handwave Nana Visitor's bump."

Given the last paragraph of the review, I'm not sure why you would think that. :)

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Rancho Unicorno
14. RichF
Interesting that Max Grodénchik played a Nagus in this episode (albeit an illusory one) and that Rom at the end of the series would go on to become a real one. Not sure if they planned it that way.
Phil Parsons
15. Yakko
Well I liked both the A and B plots. Sure the womb reassignment was contrived but I thought the writers plumbed that situation for some interesting and amusing character work later in the season.

@10: I never thought of it that way Lsana but I suppose the sexual tension that develops between Kira and Miles later in the season is a good example of negative fallout from Keiko's lack of respect for boundaries. The same thing happened with Ellen Page and Jason Bateman in "Juno"!

@1: Christopher you make a very intriguing point about Brunt himself subverting Ferengi ideals by placing personal vindication above profit mongering. In fact way back in the first season of TNG didn't DaiMon Bok lose his captaincy for that very offense?

Happy Birthday Krad!
Keith DeCandido
16. krad
Yakko: That was actually the second Ferengi episode, "The Battle."

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Rancho Unicorno
17. lvsxy808@yahoo.com
I always thought that the first thing Quark should have done the moment he woke up from his Gint dream would have been to call Garak shouting "Abort! Abort! Abort!" After all, Garak doesn't know that Quark has changed his mind.

As you say, Quark, Worf and Garak are all exiled from their people and culture at this point. And many other characters have been near-exiles or odd-ones-out too - Sisko is half-Prophet, Bashir is *redacted for spoilers*, Dax nearly reassociated, Odo is already self-exiled and will soon be more than that, Nog is the only Ferengi in Starfleet... I know one standard way of creating character is to put them in conflict with their culutre, but DS9 seems to take that to extremes sometimes.
Rancho Unicorno
18. tortillarat
"After all, Garak doesn't know that Quark has changed his mind."

I wondered about that the first time I saw this episode. Granted, the final scene implies pretty much everyone on the station knows what happened so at that point Garak *probably* wouldn't go through with it, but there really should've been a line or two of dialog to at least address the hit Quark put out on himself.
Raymond Seavey
19. RaySea
Personally, I'm not totally sure Garak ever intended to actually kill Quark. I mean, that would be a good way to land himself in serious hot water, especially since Sons of Mogh a few episodes ago made it clear that the station administration is defiantly not cool with assisted suicide, which is essentially what this is. I don't think it would be out of character for Garak to be doing this whole thing to screw with Quark for his own amusement.
Christopher Bennett
20. ChristopherLBennett
Beware spoilers for later seasons:

@17: Sisko is not "half-Prophet." Whatever creepy Prophet possession or mind control Sisko's mother was under at the time of his conception, she was still biologically human. So he's not half-Prophet, he's just a human whose birth was arranged (in the most disturbing and rapey way imaginable) by the Prophets.

And why would you redact the spoiler about Bashir right after blowing the spoiler about Sisko?
Rancho Unicorno
21. ad
You know, it has been known for a transporter accident to produce an exact duplicate of someone. Quark could simply have copied himself and had one of the copies killed to give Brunt what he bought...
Rancho Unicorno
22. CaptainSheridan
@17 I agree-- I remember being dissapointed when I saw this episode for the first time, thinking here is another Worf and Odo situation.
Rancho Unicorno
23. Lsana
@21,

"Killing your own clone is still murder."
Rancho Unicorno
24. Ashcom
It makes for an entertaining story, but I'm pretty sure the reality of this situation would have been that Quark could have tied the whole process up in legal appeals for literally decades. The Ferrengi are bound to have a whole series of legal rules and precedents regarding compensation should a product become unavailable for whatever reason, and the process would undoubtedly be unbelievably expensive. But that is the point of Ferrengi society, as long as everyone is making more profit from Quark being alive than from Quark being dead, the lawyers and judges and other legal system professionals would all make sure Quark remained alive right up until the point when that particular well of latinum ran dry.
Rancho Unicorno
25. Rancho Unicorno
Thinking about the Brunt undermining Ferengi values line a little more, I disagree. Brunt appears to be working under the impression that Quark and his activities are both deliterious to Ferengi society as a whole and to his personal ability to earn profit. It would be difficult for me to speculate on how he comes up with the latter, but he doesn't exactly have the biggest lobes.

While the expectation is that you work to earn profit, you are under no obligation to be a good businessman. Otherwise Quark's father was just as much a deviant as Brunt is accused of being.
Christopher Bennett
26. ChristopherLBennett
@25: I'm sure Brunt believes that he's standing up for the good of Ferengi society, but that's just my point: Fanatics always believe they're serving their cause even while their actions and methods directly betray their cause.
Nick Hlavacek
27. Nick31
@19 - That's exactly what I thought. Not that Garak would have any moral qualms about killing Quark, but neither would he have any problem with breaking the contract. Just for giggles. I doubt he's worried at all about getting in trouble though. If he did decide to go ahead ank kill Quark, he'd make sure there's absolutely no way anyone could prove that he was involved.
Christopher Bennett
28. ChristopherLBennett
@27: Although I think it's in Garak's best interest not to kill Quark. Consider: If Odo didn't have Quark to be obsessed with, he'd have more attention to devote to other resident scoundrels, and Garak wouldn't be able to get away with nearly as much.
Rancho Unicorno
29. Eduardo Jencarelli
Happy late birthday, I guess. I always forget those. Of course, being offline for an extended 4 day weekend doesn't help either...

It’s becoming increasingly obvious to me that the bad reputation the Ferengi episodes get is almost entirely an artifact of the depths of awful that “Profit and Lace” and “The Emperor’s New Cloak” sink to

That's partly the case, but I think it's more than that.

Looking back to reviewers like Tim Lynch (who have always scored Ferengi episodes poorly), and certain segments of Trek fandom, I think there are fans who have never warmed up to the Ferengi at all. The fact of the matter is, when you remove the satire, the character work, all you're left with is a bunch of goofy looking aliens with big ears...

There are people who will never be pleased. They're too shallow to see past the visual look. Or there are people who take their objection of affection too seriously, and there are certain elements they find to be too nauseating to be a part of their universe. I think the Ferengi remind these people that this is a fantasy universe, something they don't like to be reminded of.

I mean, look at Wesley, to take a different example. There are fans who wanted Wil Wheaton dead, because the very notion of a teenage boy driving the Enterprise was an aberration to their minds, even if the character developed over time. And now look at Homeland and 24 fans. They despise the concept of a teenage character being prominent in an adult spy drama.

True, the Ferengi didn't start all that well, back in TNG's first season. It took time for them to develop into proper characters, beyond the caricatures. And it's thanks to people like Behr, Wolfe and Beimler who made them three-dimensional, and actors like Shimerman and Grodénchik who embraced these characters and took them seriously. They saw the value in what writers like Herb Wright and Gene Roddenberry were going for, taking the greedy capitalists angle to the next level.

You have the same problem in Star Wars fandom. People who despise Jar Jar Binks. Ask any of them to give a proper reason for the hatred. They won't give a good one.

As a character, Jar Jar became a valuable politician, able to rally his friends around a noble and worthy cause, which led them to victory. A character who values peace, friendship and understanding, who sadly became the perfect pawn to bring about the Empire. But of course, the fans who complain about him can't see anything past the rabbit ears and the bumbling Buster Keaton-esque comedy.

Having said all of this, I loved this episode. In many ways, I see it as part of a trilogy, with part one being Bar Association, where he lost control over his brother. In this, he loses his license, and his respect with Ferengi society. Part three, Ferengi Love Songs, although the weakest, is where he at least gets something back.
Jack Flynn
30. JackofMidworld
Happy Belated!

Also enjoyed this ep quite a bit.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
31. Lisamarie
I hated the Ferengi in TNG, but I find them a lot more entertaining/interesting here and some of the DS9 'Ferengi' episodes have been some of my favorites. I really enjoyed this one too - and I think CLB makes a good point in number 1 that is sadly too true. As a religious person myself, I was definitely reminded of certain types of people that can frequent the circles I am in (in real life or online) in Brunt's behavior.

Also, 'It's a Wonderful Life' is one of my favorite movies, so I loved the ending. That was the first thing I thought of when I saw it. No man is a failure who has friends ;) Was the ending meant to be a deliberate homage, or did it just happen to fall on the same themes?

Happy birthday!
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
32. Lisamarie
Oh, and the B plot, I totally forgot about that. I think Keiko's behavior was just really weird and intrusive. Plus, they were acting like the idea of somebody carrying somebody else's baby was just so totally unheard of. Don't they have surrogates or adoption? I have some friends who have adopted two children and they would never act that way towards the birth parents, nor did it interfere with their ability to bond with/love the children either. Certainly it would be a bit of a shock for something like that to happen so suddenly, and I'd miss the closeness of having my baby in my womb...but on the other hand, I'm not one of those women who really enjoyed being pregnant, especially towards the end. Intense back pain, and no sleep because I had to get up and pee every hour!

It was still a pretty cool thing for Kira to do (writer hand waving aside ;) ).
Keith DeCandido
33. krad
Lisamarie: Yeah, but surrogates and adoptions are planned. This wasn't. I think that has a lot to do with how Keiko was responding.

And thanks, everyone, for the birthday wishes!

---Keith R.A. DeCandido

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